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Explaining Your Cat’s Aversion to the Litterbox

August 15, 2017

Is your cat eliminating outside of her litterbox? It’s not uncommon for our feline friends to develop an aversion to their bathrooms—in fact, about one in every 10 cats shuns their litterbox at one point or another! Put a stop to the mess with these tips from a Thorold, ON veterinarian.

Litter Preference

Did you know that certain cats prefer particular litter types? While the majority of our feline friends will do just fine with a standard clumping litter, some might insist on a fine non-clumping variety. There are also scented and non-scented litters, different base materials, various granule sizes, and other considerations. Try experimenting a bit to see if you can find a litter that your cat prefers.

Box Cleanliness

Who wants to use a dirty bathroom? Not your cat, that’s for sure. If you don’t scoop out Fluffy’s box often enough, she may decide to stop using it entirely. Scoop out your cat’s waste every day, and change out the litter entirely about once a week or so. This will ensure that your cat’s bathroom stays clean and fresh at all times, enticing her to use it regularly.

Box Placement

Our feline friends can be quite picky about where their bathroom is located; placing it anywhere you please simply won’t do. Make sure your cat’s box is located in a quiet, out-of-the-way location like a basement or back bathroom. This way, your cat won’t be disturbed by human family members or other pets while doing her business. For older cats, placing a separate litterbox on each floor may be helpful, especially if your pet is reluctant to trek up and down the staircase.


If your cat had a bad experience with a litterbox early on in life (i.e. being startled while using it, being forced out of one, etc.), they may still hold some resentment toward their bathroom now. In these cases, you might need the help of a certified animal behaviorist to get your cat comfortable with her box again; call your vet’s office for more information.

Medical Issues

Still can’t get your cat to use her litterbox properly? Set up an appointment to have her examined. It’s possible that injury or illness could be the root cause of your cat’s bathroom aversion, so you’ll want to have any medical problems diagnosed quickly.

For more advice on your cat’s behavior, call your Thorold, ON vet.

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